August Existing-Home Sales Leap Despite Headwinds

Existing-home sales increased in August, even with ongoing tight credit and appraisal problems, along with regional disruptions created by Hurricane Irene, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Monthly gains were seen in all regions.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million in August from an upwardly revised 4.67 million in July, and are 18.6 percent higher than the 4.24 million unit level in August 2010.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there are some positive market fundamentals. “Some of the improvement in August may result from sales that were delayed in preceding months, but favorable affordability conditions and rising rents are underlying motivations,” he said. “Investors were more active in absorbing foreclosed properties. In additional to bargain hunting, some investors are in the market to hedge against higher inflation.”

Investors accounted for 22 percent of purchase activity in August, up from 18 percent in July and 21 percent in August 2010. First-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes in August, unchanged from July; they were 31 percent in August 2010.

All-cash sales accounted for 29 percent of transactions in August, unchanged from July; they were 28 percent in August 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

“We had some disruptions from Hurricane Irene in the closing weekend of August, when many sales normally are finalized, along the Eastern seaboard and in New England,” Yun said. “As a result, the Northeast saw the smallest sales gain in August, and some general impact is expected in September with widespread flooding from Tropical Storm Lee. Aberrations in housing data are possible over the next couple months as markets recover from disrupted closings and storm damage.”

Yun said an extremely important issue currently is the renewal and availability of the National Flood Insurance Program, scheduled to expire at the end of this month. “About one out of 10 homes in this country need flood insurance to get a mortgage, and we would see significant negative market impacts without it,” he said.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.27 percent in August, down from 4.55 percent in July; the rate was 4.43 percent in August 2010. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed rate fell to a record low 4.09 percent.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said the market is remarkably affordable for people with secure jobs, good credit and long-term plans. “All year, the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income has been hovering at historic highs, meaning the best housing affordability conditions in a generation,” he said.

“The biggest factors keeping home sales from a healthy recovery are mortgages being denied to creditworthy buyers, and appraised valuations below the negotiated price. Buyers may be able to find more favorable credit terms with community and small regional banks, and Realtors® can often give buyers advice to help them overcome some of the financing obstacles,” Phipps said.

Contract failures – cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price – were reported by 18 percent of NAR members in August, up from 16 percent July and 9 percent in August 2010.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,300 in August, which is 5.1 percent below August 2010. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales typically sold at deep discounts – accounted for 31 percent of sales in August, compared with 29 percent in July and 34 percent in August 2010.

Total housing inventory at the end of August fell 3.0 percent to 3.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in July.

Single-family home sales rose 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in August from 4.12 million in July, and are 20.2 percent above the 3.72 million pace in August 2010.

The median existing single-family home price was $168,400 in August, which is 5.4 percent below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.8 percent a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in August from 550,000 in July, and are 8.3 percent higher than the 517,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $167,500 in August, down 3.3 percent from August 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 2.7 percent to an annual pace of 770,000 in August and are 10.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $244,100, which is 5.1 percent below August 2010.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 3.8 percent in August to a level of 1.09 million and are 26.7 percent above August 2010. The median price in the Midwest was $141,700, down 3.5 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 5.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.94 million in August and are 16.9 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $151,000, which is 0.8 percent below August 2010.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 18.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.23 million in August and are 20.6 percent higher than August 2010. The median price in the West was $189,400, down 13.0 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR; Daily Real Estate News (September 21, 2011); Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

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LOL Friday! A natural salesman…

A man walked into the produce section of his local supermarket and asked to buy a half head of lettuce. The boy working in that department told him that they only sold whole heads of lettuce. The man was insistent that the boy ask his manager about the matter.

Walking into the back room, the boy said to the manager, “Some ass-hole wants to buy a half head of lettuce.” As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, “And this gentleman kindly offered to buy the other half.”

The manager approved the deal and the man went on his way. Later the manager said to the boy, “I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier. We like people who think on their feet here. Where are you from, son?”

“Texas, sir.” the boy replied.

“Well, why did you leave Texas ?” the manager asked.

The boy said, “Sir, there’s nothing but whores and football players there.”

“Really?” said the manager “My wife is from Texas.”

“Get outta here!” the boy said. “Who’d she play for?”

Open House this Sunday in West Meade of Nashville, Tennessee

OPEN HOUSE | SUNDAY | SEPTEMBER 18, 2011 | 2p – 4p

6011 Jocelyn Hollow Road, Nashville TN 37205
MLS 1210357 Offered at $519,000

CHARACTER, CHARM, COMFORT, PRIVACY
4,432 s.f. | 4 Bed | 3/1 Bath | 1.75 Acres
This is a must see! Lovely and large home in convenient and highly-desired neighborhood. Lots of spacious rooms with great renovation possibilities. Priced well-below assessment value. Beautiful treed lot. Please view the Open House Link for details.

DIRECTIONS: Go west on Harding Road, Right on Davidson, Left on Jocelyn Hollow Road, 6011 is on the left.

Kenneth Bargers, REALTOR® | Bargers Solutions | Pilkerton Realtors| (615) 512-9836 cellular | (615) 371-2474 office | kb@bargers-solutions.com | www.bargers-solutions.com | 2 Cadillac Drive, Brentwood TN 37027

Nashville Ranks Among Top 10 U.S. Cities That Grew The Most In 2010

For some of the country’s largest cities, last year was a good one for growth. None less than the technology hub otherwise known as San Jose.

Metropolitan economies grew by 2.5 percent last year, measured by gross domestic product, according to recent statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And while that growth makes up for a decline of that same percentage one year prior, some most certainly expanded quite a bit more than others.

Indeed, nearly all of the country’s fifty largest metro areas experienced economic growth of some form last year, and manufacturing may have been the most widespread driver. Some cities, however, have other industries to thank for their economic expansion. San Jose, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, saw some of the strongest GDP growth thanks much in part to the information industry that surrounds it. Indeed, 3.6 percent of its 13.4 percent growth is attributed to the tech sector.

Please read the full story to see the rankings and details

Source: Huffingtonpost Business; Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

12 Housing Markets Seeing the Biggest Turnarounds

The National Association of Home Builders is debuting a new economic index that highlights metro areas that are seeing the most improvement in their housing markets. The First American Improving Markets Index reveals 12 metro areas that have seen a turnaround for at least six months in three core economic areas — housing permits, employment, and housing prices.

“Despite the challenging conditions in the national economy and housing sector, there are areas throughout the country where we are seeing pockets of improvement,” Bob Nielsen, chairman of NAHB, said in a statement. “We created this new index to shine a light on those housing markets across the country that have stabilized and have begun to show signs of recovery.”

Here are the 12 cities that have seen the biggest improvements, according to NAHB’s new index:

  • Alexandria, LA
  • Anchorage
  • Bangor, ME
  • Bismarck, ND
  • Casper, WY
  • Fairbanks
  • Fayetteville, NC
  • Houma, LA
  • Midland, TX
  • New Orleans
  • Pittsburgh
  • Waco, TX

Source: REALTOR® Magazine Daily News, 091211; Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, a proud member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee

LOL Friday! Ole and Lena…

Ole married an attractive woman, Lena, half his age.

After several months, Lena complained that she had never climaxed during sex; and according to her Grandma, all Norwegian farm women are entitled to a climax once in a while.

So, to resolve the problem, they went to see the large-animal Vet since there was no trustworthy doctor anywhere in Mower County . The Vet didn’t have a clue, but he did recall how, during the hot summer, his Mother and Dad, Olga and Sven, would fan a cow that was having any difficulty birthing a calf to cool her down and make her struggles easier.

So, the Vet told them to hire a strong, virile, young man to wave a towel over them while they were having sex. This, the Vet said, would cause the young wife to climax.

So the couple hired a young man from the big city of Minneapolis named Lars to wave a towel over them as the Vet suggested. After many efforts, still no climax.

They went back to the Vet. The Vet said for Lena to change partners and let Lars have sex with her while Ole waved the towel.

They tried it that night and Lena went into wild, screaming, ear-splitting climaxes, one after the other.

When it was over, Ole smugly looked down at Lars and said, “Ya see, city slicker, now DAT’s how ya wave da towel!